12/31/2016

And That's A Wrap!

This morning I woke up before everyone else. I shuffled downstairs, pushed brew on the Keurig and poured myself a cup of coffee.

It's my last cup of 2016, and it's kinda weird thinking about how fast this year has gone.

Maybe because it's been so crazy!

From welcoming our third daughter to moving into our fixer-upper (and running into a few hiccups along the way...eh hem, like that $20,000-dollar AC and furnace and that slight major asbestos scare...), this year has been busy. But boy, have we had a lot of fun!

I mean, HELLO: Disney World!

Here's a look at the TOP 10 posts you've shared this year:

10. It's A...(GIRL!)

9. Welcome to our Fixer-Upper

8. 7 Stunning Before & After Photos of Our Home

7. What I Want My Daughters to Know About America

6. Surprise At The Supermarket

5. Why I'm Walking Away From TV

4. Announcing Our Pregnancy

3. Why We Don't Celebrate 'Gotcha Day'

2. Love At First Sight: Powerful Photos of us Meeting Our Daughter

And the top-viewed, most-shared post of 2016 is ((drumroll, please)):

1. Recipe for Dangerous Bagel Dip

Happy 2017, friends!

Related content:
A Special Kind of Christmas Wish
When Tomorrow Doesn't Come

12/23/2016

How Infertile Women Really Want to Answer the 'Kids' Question

“When are you having kids?”

If you’re a woman — especially a married woman — you’ve likely been asked when you’re gonna start pushing babies out of your hoo-hah. And if you’ve struggled with infertility, you’ve likely felt like throat-punching every single person who asks when you’re going to have kids because they sure as shit don’t know the infertile hell you’ve been trudging through trying to get that BFP (Big Fat Positive).

Here’s how infertile women really want to respond to the obtrusive and dreaded, “When are you having kids?” question:

1. When my hysterosalpingogram shows my fallopian tubes are open and a catheter is shoved up my vagina 36 hours after I give myself a huge-ass HCG trigger shot in my butt to stimulate ovulation and inject sperm that’s been processed and washed to ensure it contains a high enough motility and morphology score to even swim its way up my uterine cavity and reach the eggs I’ve stimulated for the past  two weeks with injectable FSH medications.

2. Fuck you.

3. When I’m put under general anesthesia to have my eggs aspirated with a hollow needle inserted through my vagina after weeks of injectable meds are shot in my stomach and ass. And when those aspirated eggs are transferred back into me via a catheter after being fertilized in a lab and surviving at least two to five days with sperm from my husband who whacked off in a dark room and ejaculated into a plastic cup.

4. Gee, I don’t know. When do you think I should I have kids?

5. As soon as I can figure out how to get pregnant.

6. Whenever you learn to stop asking that question.

7. I’m trying to figure that out. You wanna give my reproductive endocrinologist a call for me? Maybe you can get a better answer for me. I can get a release form from the clinic, and I’ll add you to my approved contact list. It might be another week or so before they’ll talk to you because HIPAA can be a real pain in the ass, but I’m sure they’d totally tell you what my baseline blood draw and ultrasounds look like before I start stimming with injectable gonadotropins.

8. We just did the deed this morning, but it’s too early to tell.

9. Stare at them. Break out into unintelligible screaming until the individual’s eyes bulge in pure panic. Then stop and stare again. Gasp for breath. Snort a few times, then stop. Don’t say a word. Just stare at them until they walk away so traumatized and confused by your response that they’ll be too scared to ever ask anyone that question again.

This post was originally published on Scary Mommy.

Related content:
I Wish I Had Known How Much I'd Miss Being Pregnant
A Tremendous Honor For My Favorite Story
Why I'm Grateful for Years of Infertility

12/12/2016

To the Woman Who Shamed Me For Not Breastfeeding

I dumped two scoops of powdered Gerber goodness into 4-ounces of water.

Shake, shake, shake. SCREAM.

Four-week old babies have no patience, especially in a quiet corner of the public library while her toddler sisters climb bookshelves like trapeze artists scouring for a Daniel Tiger book we haven’t yet read.

With a burp cloth draped over my shoulder, I cradled my hangry newborn in my left arm and one-handedly pried the lid off her bottle in my other.

As soon as the bottle’s plastic nipple met her mouth, all was right in our calm area of the library.

Until that woman looked at me, that is.

We were sitting on a carpeted bench near the kids’ corner with puppets and bright-colored blocks between us. And through her thick-framed glasses, the middle-aged woman thought of a way to suck far worse than a hangry baby.

“You have a hard time breastfeeding?” she asked me pitifully.

With tired eyes, I looked at her. Perhaps I misunderstood.

She waited for me to respond.

“Nah, I didn’t even try,” I said.

As I muttered those words I saw dozens of books falling from the ceiling tiles. My two giggling toddlers – as if on cue – were tossing piles of paperbacks into the air like confetti.

I instinctively jolted from that carpeted bench while juggling my newborn, her burp cloth and bottle – with formula. I had no time to offer that woman an explanation. This multitasking momma had a paperback party to bust up.

When every Haitian-Creole, Hindi, and Japanese folk and fairy tale was returned neatly to their designated shelf, I walked back over to the corner of formula-feeding shame.

That woman – whoever she is – was gone.

I had no opportunity to elaborate why I chose not to breastfeed my daughter. And why I’m proud of it.

I wanted to tell her I didn’t think twice about inverted nipples or whipping out my boobs on demand.

I didn’t have to battle with insurance companies for pump coverage or figure out when and where I could pump-n-dump efficiently and comfortably in the office.

I didn’t bother shopping for nursing bras or scour the internet for tips to increase my supply.

I didn’t need to look up ways to ease the engorgement that housed my bulging jugs of liquid gold because the pain would leave as fast as it came on.

I didn’t buy an ass-load of nipple shields or creams or nursing pads or nipple balms.

I didn’t pencil in appointments with the local La Leche League or put out feelers for lactation consultants to help with latch problems or offer tips for surviving overnight cluster feeds.

I wasn’t concerned about developing plugged ducts or mastitis.

I didn’t pump around the clock to stock the deep freeze with breastmilk bags to last through my transition back to work.

I didn’t bother with any of this, because I simply didn’t want to.

So, to the woman who unapologetically assumed I had problems breastfeeding my daughter because I dumped two scoops of powdered formula in my baby’s bottle: I did not have any problems breastfeeding because I didn’t even attempt it.

And my daughter is healthy – fed and growing. That’s all that matters.

Read more HERE.

Related content:
How Infertile Women Really Want to Respond to the 'Kids' Question
I Wish I Had Known How Much I'd Miss Being Pregnant

12/07/2016

A Special Kind of Christmas Wish

This post may contain affiliate links. 

I was sitting at the computer when the notification popped up.
Oncologists gave us the opportunity to stop chemo... 
I stopped reading. My screen was blurry because tears instantly began bubbling over my eyes and down my cheeks.

My momma's heart shattered into tiny pieces thinking about 9-year old Kyla and how chemo had taken a toll on her little body.
Christmas Wish For Kyla With Cancer
You wouldn't know it from this picture, but Kyla has an inoperable brain tumor.

Her prognosis is something her family doesn't talk about often because each day is a gift.

But the truth is, if this chemo regimen doesn't work -- Kyla will likely die.

Her tumor type is so rare that some of the top oncologists in the country believe she may be one of only three children fighting this battle. One of THREE.
Christmas Wish For Kyla With Cancer
Kyla's mom doesn't need a rare cancer diagnosis to know her daughter is special, though.

She's known that from the day she took her first breath at Allen Hospital in Waterloo in the spring of 2007.
Christmas Wish For Kyla With Cancer
Life was much simpler then. Babies have such an innocence about them, don't they?

Now -- years since her diagnosis, life is complicated. It revolves around dozens of pills and hospital visits in Chicago and Iowa City. There's experimental treatments, uncomfortable side effects and regular checkups with specialists across the country. There's uncertainty and fear, yet faith in believing there are better days ahead.
Christmas Wish For Kyla With Cancer
Amanda has dreams of her beautiful daughter growing into a young woman, finding love and creating a family of her own. But every now and then, reality sinks in. She knows life with her daughter is fleeting. It can change -- it can all be gone -- in an instant.

While Amanda hopes for the best, she is preparing her heart for the worst.

This may be the last Christmas she shares with her daughter.

Still, she prays for a miracle.

And that's where YOU come in...

Will you be part of a Christmas miracle for Kyla?

Can you make this Christmas unforgettable for Kyla and her family?

Here is Kyla's Christmas Wish list -- You can see, it's simple things (like pancakes from IHOP or a new app for her iPad) that bring much joy to this sweet girl.

And she most certainly deserves it.

Amanda is a loyal blog reader-turned-friend. She is a beautiful, strong mother on a journey none of us would ever choose to be on. And during this season of uncertainty in her daughter's life, I can't think of anything more meaningful than the prayers, kindness and generosity from strangers coming together to bring them an unforgettable Christmas.

There is no greater gift for this family than the ability to enjoy the time they have left together.

Related links:
Kyla's Christmas Wish list
Kyla Kicking Kancer's Keister Facebook Page
Go Fund Me: Kyla's Brain Cancer Battle